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Univ. Will Hold Second Unionization Election in April

Graduate students involved in the unionization effort, pictured here at a rally held in Nov. 2017.
Graduate students involved in the unionization effort, pictured here at a rally held in Nov. 2017. By Ellis J. Yeo
By Shera S. Avi-Yonah and Molly C. McCafferty, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard will hold a second election to determine whether eligible graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants may unionize on April 18 and 19, the National Labor Relations Board announced Friday.

At stake in the upcoming election is whether eligible graduate teaching and research assistants and undergraduate course assistants will have the ability to collectively bargain with the University. Public Policy Ph.D. student and union advocate Niharika N. Singh said supporters of unionization are already mobilizing in preparation for the upcoming election.

"Harvard students are eager for the stability of a contract to continue their exceptional work as researchers and teachers. I can guarantee you that student-workers like myself across campus are circling April 18 on their calendars right now," Singh said.

University representatives could not be immediately reached for comment Friday evening.

The NLRB announcement follows over a year of legal battles between the University and Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Auto Workers over the results of a Nov. 2016 unionization election.

The results of that election showed 1,526 votes against unionization and 1,396 in favor. Lawyers representing HGSU-UAW contested the initial results on the grounds that the University did not properly generate a required list of eligible voters.

In July 2017, the regional NLRB ruled in favor of HSGU-UAW, saying the University-generated list was inadequate. Harvard then appealed the ruling, taking the case to the federal board in Washington, D.C. The national board ultimately reaffirmed the original decision, ruling against the University in December.

The NLRB’s Boston office ordered the upcoming election in January, after the 2016 results were finalized.

—Staff writer Shera S. Avi-Yonah can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @saviyonah.

—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at Follow her Twitter at @mollmccaff.

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